Red Cross warns against 'politicising humanitarian aid' for Ukraine

GMT 23:02 2015 Tuesday ,24 February

Arab Today, arab today Red Cross warns against 'politicising humanitarian aid' for Ukraine

President Peter Maurer
Moscow - AFP

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross spoke out Tuesday against "politicising" the issue of humanitarian assistance for war-torn eastern Ukraine.
Speaking to reporters after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the Ukraine crisis, Peter Maurer also called on Moscow and Kiev to create what he called a common "humanitarian space."
"Humanitarian assistance has been highly politicised, this is not the first time that we are experiencing this, we have experienced it in the context of the Syrian crisis," he told reporters in Moscow.
"The politicisation of humanitarian assistance is complicating humanitarian assistance and we have to make the utmost effort to create a space for mutual and impartial assistance."
Maurer is on a three-day visit to Russia. On Wednesday he is scheduled to travel to Ukraine.
"In my conversations today and tomorrow and during the week...we will try to encourage all sides to come to an agreement which creates a humanitarian space in which mutual and impartial humanitarian assistance can be delivered to those who need it," Maurer said.
"We certainly hope we can convince the government in Kiev to change maybe some of its policy and modify some of its policy in support of mutual and impartial operations by the ICRC.
"And so we hope that by the end of the week we have a greater space in order to support people in need in east Ukraine and also in the region as a whole," he added.
Maurer did not elaborate on which positions he would like to see adapted.
Russia has sent a series of humanitarian aid convoys across the border despite protests from Kiev, which has slammed them as "direct invasion."
Maurer said the situation in eastern Ukraine was "very serious."
"Hospitals have been targeted and destroyed... weapons have been used in densely populated areas and caused immense suffering."
He expressed hope that a truce in Ukraine would hold so that local residents could receive more aid.
Earlier this month Germany and France helped broker a truce in a desperate effort to end fighting that has claimed at least 5,790 lives since April.

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